October China-US trade talks worth the wait

Source:Global Times Published: 2019/9/5 22:08:41

Photo: IC

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He had a phone call, by invitation, with US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on Thursday. According to the Chinese side, the two countries agreed to hold the 13th round of China-US high-level trade consultations in Washington in early October and would maintain close communication before that. Working groups of the two sides will conduct consultations in mid-September to make full preparations for the high-level talks to achieve substantial progress. Both sides agreed to "jointly take concrete actions to create favorable conditions for further consultations in October," reported Xinhua News Agency on Thursday. 

After top leaders from China and the US reached a consensus in Japan in June, the two countries held the 12th round of trade talks in Shanghai in July. Then the US suddenly announced new tariffs on Chinese goods, which led to China's countermeasures and the escalation of the US-launched trade war against China. The tense China-US trade relationship has agitated the global market, and turmoil is emerging in the US stock market. As Liu said on Tuesday, the trade war "is not conducive to China, the US, or the world."

A stress on making "full preparations" and achieving "substantial progress" before the trade consultations is extremely rare.

Obviously, China and the US are willing to reach a trade agreement. But the gap between their stances remains wide. The US believes that its advantage in strength is enough to support its demands, even unreasonable ones. However, China insists on mutual respect, and believes the process must be fair, and the results should be mutually beneficial.

China said the trade war, which has lasted for over a year, has hurt both sides, but the US does not want to admit it is also wounded by the trade war. However, the US cannot provide a satisfactory explanation of why high tariffs benefit the US economy. Thus, the two sides face the choice of whether to continue the lose-lose situation or to reach a compromise.

A stalemate is emerging in the China-US trade war. Washington has more economic advantages, while Beijing has more political advantages. If both sides refuse to make concessions, the trade war is likely to continue for a long time and create lasting strategic harm to both countries. China's attitude toward reaching a deal has been consistent, and it is believed that China's endurance has impressed the US. Both sides have a greater understanding of each other's attitude and bottom line.

But this does not mean the two countries will achieve substantial progress in the 13th round of talks. Many other factors will affect their negotiations, such as specific US economic data and pressing US political issues.

The Chinese group will negotiate in a serious and proactive manner and adhere to the country's principles and bottom line. The Chinese people should remain calm. The Chinese economy's ability to adapt to the trade war is taking shape at an accelerating pace. We Chinese are aware that we should do our own thing well. The more we activate our economy and expand our market, the earlier the China-US trade agreement will be reached.

Posted in: EDITORIAL

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